The growth of the broadband market, including fixed and mobile broadband services is, along with pay-TV services, the ray of light in an otherwise challenging outlook. Greece's mobile market remains under pressure on numerous fronts, with consumer spending being reined in as a result of the government's latest austerity measures and operator revenues squeezed by cuts to termination rates. Were the market less reliant on prepaid services, this would seep through to the telecoms sector only gradually. However, this is not the case and we have already seen mobile ARPUs contract sharply in H212 and H113.
- The broadband market continued its strong growth in 2012, with fixed subscriptions up by 9.1%, to 2.689mn, but dedicated mobile broadband subscription growth was much stronger, with subscriptions up by 28.1%, to 408,000.
- The mobile market has continued its rebound from large subscription losses in 2010, with year-on-year (y-o-y) growth of 0.5%, to 15.398mn subscriptions at the end of June 2013.
- However ARPU rates dropped sharply y-o-y to June 2013, with cuts to mobile termination rates adding to the downward pressure on ARPU from price competition and economic conditions.
Key Trends & Developments
Despite a challenging economic environment, operators have continued to invest in infrastructure. In September 2013, OTE confirmed that it is to upgrade both its mobile and fixed networks between 2014 and 2018. The company has budgeted the projects at US$1.62bn, with work to include the financing of a new generation of networks in both segments. OTE will also invest in an expansion of its pay-TV service capabilities.
Meanwhile, Vodafone confirmed that it intends to invest some of the proceeds from the recent sale of its stake in US major Verizon Wireless to speed up 4G network development in Greece. The operator did not report specific figures for investment in Greece, but Vodafone, under its Project Spring plan, is planning to raise CAPEX by an additional US$9.5bn over three years across Europe and emerging markets. In June 2013, Vodafone announced the full launch of its 4G LTE network, which had been offering limited services since Q412.